Chinese fans blame Manchester United for their loss to Son Heung-min's South Korea at the AFC Asian Cup

Chinese football fans responded with their typical gallows humour to the nation's latest defeat on the international stage.

Marcello Lippi's side lost 2-0 to South Korea in their AFC Asian Cup group C meeting, with the winner taking top spot and arguably the easier side of the draw.

China, who would have topped the group on goal difference in the case of a draw, can now expect to meet Iran, Asia's strongest team, in the quarter-finals. South Korea are on the same side of the draw as Saudi Arabia, who they will expect to meet in the quarters.

After a Hwang Ul-jo penalty and a Kim Min-jae header, the first won by Son Heung-min and the second coming from a corner taken by the newly arrived Spurs star, Chinese fans let loose online.

One user on Dongqiudi, the Chinese-language version of the All Football app, commented that Manchester United were to blame for not injuring Son when the clubs met at Wembley last weekend. That was in reference to Phil Jones injuring Harry Kane with a tackle in the game and the England forward now being out of action until March.

Others joked that the result meant China are now as good as Germany, as the world champions lost 2-0 to South Korea in Russia last summer to crash out of the World Cup.

Chinese fans were also worried that having lost top spot they face Thailand in the round of 16, with a loss to the team that India beat 4-1 in their opening game a potential source of embarrassment.


Over on Sina Sports, one commenter pointed to the absence of China's star forward Wu Lei against South Korea, a game he sat out with a shoulder injury.

"The Chinese team with Wu Lei is not necessarily good. The Chinese team without Wu Lei is definitely not good."

It was a sentiment echoed by others on the site: "Wu Lei does not play, the majority of fans know the importance of Wu Lei in national football."

They will hope he returns to the side for the round of 16 game against Thailand.

Meanwhile, Son's English Premier League side were in celebratory mood for their star's Asian Cup 2019 debut. "Congratulations Sonny," they wrote on Twitter, which is positive given they may miss their forward until February if South Korea go all the way.

They reached the final in Australia four years ago but lost to the hosts in Sydney.


Spurs fans were less enthusiastic with one on Twitter writing before the game that they "Hope China smash South Korea tomorrow" in order to get Son back for a vital run of games in the league, League Cup and Uefa Champions League.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.

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